2 Now a man from Levi’s household married a Levite woman. 2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that the baby was healthy and beautiful, so she hid him for three months. 3 When she couldn’t hide him any longer, she took a reed basket and sealed it up with black tar. She put the child in the basket and set the basket among the reeds at the riverbank. 4 The baby’s older sister stood watch nearby to see what would happen to him.
5 Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, while her women servants walked along beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds, and she sent one of her servants to bring it to her. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child. The boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children.”
7 Then the baby’s sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Would you like me to go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”
8 Pharaoh’s daughter agreed, “Yes, do that.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I’ll pay you for your work.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10 After the child had grown up, she brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I pulled him out of the water.”
Moses is the name we know. He’s the guy called by God, the one who challenges Pharoah, who leads his people to freedom, who parts the sea, who talks to God as a burning bush, who receives the 10 Commandments, who wanders with his people for 40 years, who doesn’t make it to the land he was promised. But his story almost never was.
It was the women who made it happen. It was the woman who nurtured him in her womb, gave birth to him, loved him enough to do such a desperate act as to put him in a basket and send him down a river in hope for his survival – even if that meant she might not ever see him again or know of his fate. It was the young girl, doing her sisterly duty by watching over her brother and quickly thinking up a plan that reunites him with his mother – not only restoring his connection to his roots that would be the epidemy of his later famous identity, but compassionately reconnecting a broken-hearted mother with her newborn child. And it was a girl, surrounded by the women who serve her and have taught her about kindness and motherly care, that thought she was going to have a normal day, but instead, took a seemingly abandoned child and embraced him as her own. The story is nothing without the femininity of nurture, sacrifice, compassion and care.
These women that saved Moses by putting him into, following him through, and pulling him out of water turned what most saw as a stream of water into a path to life and hope for the Israelites.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
How does water symbolize life and hope in your life? Are you currently in a place of putting your faith into the water, following your faith through the water, or pulling your faith out of water?
Prayer: Mother God, whose holy image is reflected through all of humanity, may we see the possibilities of hope found in a stream of water just as the women in Moses’ life did. Amen.